The Theater: Papp's Curtain at Lincoln Center

When he became head of theater at Lincoln Center four years ago, Producer Joseph Papp promised the equivalent of a New Deal for drama in New York City. Last week, in a more somber mood, Papp, 55, announced he was quitting the center to concentrate on his experimental theaters in Lower Manhattan. In language that a bureaucrat might envy, he described his move as a "strategic withdrawal forward."

Most others would describe it as a retreat. Though Papp has raised his box office receipts at Lincoln Center to a current high of nearly $4...

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